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Alexandria football: Cards fall to Brainerd in regular finale

Alexandria's John Vogeler fought for a few extra yards last Wednesday as Brainerd's Grant Reuer delivered a hit. Vogeler finished with 130 yards rushing and scored the Cardinals' only touchdown of the night against the Warriors. (Eric Morken, Echo Press)

The Alexandria football team went into last night's Section 8AAAAA playoff opener hoping to change a lot of the things that plagued this team in a 42-7 loss against Brainerd to wrap up the regular season last Wednesday.

The Cardinals got 130 yards on 16 carries from quarterback John Vogeler against the Warriors. Included in that was a 65-yard touchdown run, but too many big plays for Brainerd allowed the Warriors to run away with things in a 28-point third quarter.

Brainerd used a trio of backs to rush for almost 400 yards. Quarterback Luke Boran and junior running backs Conor Gessell and Logan Davis all had two touchdowns apiece. Gessell finished with 182 yards on 19 carries, while Boran and Davis added 116 and 80 yards, respectively.

The Cardinals didn't help themselves with three lost fumbles in the game. One of those came with Alexandria driving deep into Brainerd territory in the first half and another came at the Alexandria five-yard line.

Those are the things the Cardinals knew they couldn't do if they were going to extend their season in the playoffs last night. They were scheduled to take on a St. Cloud Tech team that was also coming off four-straight losses. The Tigers and Cardinals met in the season opener this year, where Tech came away with a 28-13 win in Alexandria.

Scary injury

The loss to Brainerd also came with a scare as Alexandria's Mitchell Thompson went down with an injury late in the third quarter. Thompson had to be taken off the field on a stretcher after his head hit the turf on a tackle during a kickoff return.

Thompson gave a thumbs up to the crowd as he was taken off the field to a big ovation. Head coach Mike Empting said on Thursday that Thompson was released from the ER the night of the game. He was diagnosed with a concussion and a sprained neck that will keep him out for the rest of the season.

"He seems to be in good spirits," Empting said a day after the game. "Sore, obviously, and all those things. I think probably a little shook up. It's a scary situation for everybody, and I can't imagine being the athlete and the parents going through that."

It was the second of two serious injuries that Alexandria suffered against the Warriors. Senior captain Chase Duwenhoegger (OL/DT) also went down with a knee injury that ended his career in a Cardinal uniform before the playoffs.


BRAINERD 14 0 28 0 - 42

ALEXANDRIA 0 0 7 0 - 7

TEAM STATS - Alexandria - First downs - 7; Rushing - 36-171; Passing - 2-9, 8 yards; Fumbles lost - 3; Interceptions - 0; Brainerd - First downs - 19; Rushing - 57-399; Passing - 2-6, 47 yards; Fumbles lost - 0; Interceptions - 1

ALEXANDRIA OFFENSE - Rushing - Jake Bear - 10-12; Vogeler - 16-130, TD; Mitchell Peck - 9-28; Travis Krueger - 1-1; Passing - Vogeler - 2-9, 8 yards; Receiving - Aaron Steidl - 2-8

DEFENSE - Parker Bowden - 4 tackles, 1 pass breakup; Ben Kluver - 1 tackle; Brandon Bistodeau - 4 tackles; Justin Cumberbatch - 1 tackle; Nick Knoblach - 10 tackles; Bear - 1 tackle; Nathan Huss - 4 tackles; Steidl - 7 tackles; Chad Peterson - 11 tackles; Christian Canavati - 5 tackles; Parker Revering - 4 tackles; Josh Frederick - 2 tackles; Max Flowers - 6 tackles; Jordan Karger - 2 tackles; Chris Leary - 1 tackle; Ted Deitz - 6 tackles, INT; Joe Gorghuber - 5 tackles

SPECIAL TEAMS - Punting - Steidl - 6-167; Kickoff - Tyler Lenarz - 2-98; Extra points - Chandler Davis - 1-1; Kick returns - 2-49; Mitchell Thompson - 1-12; Bear - 2-20

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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